I've learned now to read the fine print, a lot of the time, something looks too good to be true, and it usually is, so be sure to always look for the dates and see if it fits with your plans and go from there.
You just wake up ? This sort of come on has been going on for more than twenty years especially with the cruise lines for which too often the travel agents gets blame. I recall many times reading an advertisement for a cruise ," seven days in the Caribbean for $300 per person". When the TA calls the cruise line, "Sorry But These cabins Have All Been Sold." It turns out the offer was for 4 inside cabins in the bow of the ship.
"But We Have A Lot Of Better Cabins Still Available".
This is no different than the practice of car dealers who advertise vehicles for sale but that special price applies to only one vehicle ,that when you go to the dealers place of business has already been sold. In case you do not realize it, that the American way of doing business.
Please no replycruzingal wrote:
> I recently received an a-mail from a legit online Cruise TA.
> It was showing a great price for my upcoming criuse. However
> whenever I tried to book , the rate was not available for my
> I feel like this isn't very clever business practice and I
> for one will not ever book a cruise with this group for that
> very reason.
The term "bait and switch" is usually associated with stores that have merchandise in stock and that offer a lower priced item to get you into the store and then try to switch you to a higher priced one. It is hard to apply that to a travel agency that generally does not have absolute control of its "inventory"... which, in the end, is owned and controled by the cruise lines... in most cases.
While I am certain that there are a few unscrupulous operators out there, generally what we see is the advertising of the lowest available rate over many sailings of a ship on the same itinerary. There is a need to read the fine print on these (caveat emptur).
Usually, however, the travel agency will receive a special deal from the cruise line... with the stipulation that space is capacity controlled (read that they will only sell a limited number of cabins at that price), special conditions apply and the offer may be withdrawn at any time without notice. This is the most common cause for space not being available when you call to book it. Frequently, the agency itself does not know that the price on a particular sailing has been withdrawn, or sold out... until the agent tries to book it. This is not unlike the yield management programs used by the airlines, whereby low priced seats may appear and disappear on a particular flight, depending on the predictions of the moment of the yield management program.
Purchasing a cruise is not unlike any other major purchase (and it is a major purchase) you may make. Price is not the only consideration. Value is the key word and good attention should be paid to whom you are purchasing from. The vast majority of travel agencies, be they "brick and mortar", internet or both, put forth cruises for sale at a category price that was available at the time of publication of the ad. That does not necessarily mean it will be there when you try to make the booking.
Look out, the sky may be falling again as I will say that Ernie is quite correct again. <G> Bait and Switch is illegal and people can and have been prosecuted for it. Promotions are not illegal when they do have cabins being sold for that price but run out. So long as they can show that they actually did have the stated amount of cabins sold at that price. They are called "lost leaders" in many businesses and are quite common. They companies actually take a loss selling these items but it does bring people in and get them talking about the product so it is worthwhile to do so, just like advertising.
Community Staff Leader
Yep. The sky IS falling. I'm agreeing with Ernie and Jim Now, if it were just raining cruises !!!
The "loss leader" deal is particularly prevalent in the automobile industry. If you really want that car they advertised, they have to sell it to you. BUT they would much rather sell you one upon which they would make more money. They will make every effort to do so.
Disagreeing with Hanna, if a car dealership advertises a particular car at a particular price and you want it, they have to find it or otherwise make good. (I just checked this with a friend who owns a car dealership.)
Cruises are somewhat different. The cabin that was there yesterday might be gone today. The TA can't go out and build a new one for you.
I agree with Kuki (this agreement thing is getting stifling !!!! ) that if a particular cabin class/price is NOT available at the time the info is sent out, that's WRONG. But if there were, say, ten and ten people pounced and gobbled them all up, that's the luck of the draw.
Maybe I should explain it bettr. I received the e-mail for the 11/23/02 on the Golden Princess. That is the date I was interested in. So it did have the date when I called and talked to the TA at best price cruises she informed me that it wasn't good for that week. I checked their website and it was showing the same rates. She told me she would talk to her Boss, and I haven't heard back.
However I did recheck the website and they have changed the price. It could have just been a mistake but I wonder. It really doesn't matter now anyway.
So they told you that price was not applicable for the date mentioned and it wasn't because the cabins available at that rate were sold out. That situation would definitely tick me off. A lot of people utilize those e-mail alerts to tell them of last minute deals and it usually works if you can be flexible and travel on those exact dates. There's no excuse for that, even if the date or price was a mistake, they shouldn't argue. That's 90% of their work; getting the proper information out there to market their cruises. I would expect them to offer something comparable if there are cabins available. I'm not as understanding as others when it comes to for-profit companies making a mistake like that and not honoring the offer.
Now that I see it was the Golden Princess 11/23 sailing I have a bit of a better grasp on the situation, since we have a CruiseMates Group Cruise going on her that date.
I don't know that this is the cause for you particular situation, but I do prices on that sailing have been jumping around due to different "regional specials" being offered. It seems like every few days a different category goes on these "regional specials", is removed, and replaced with another. Difficult to keep up with. I know the TA handling our group has been kept hopping trying to make adjustments and lower people's prices when/if their catergories goes on special.
This am, I phoned an agent in the town noth of where I live, to get a QUOTE on a cruise for 2003. I gave the sales girl all possible info, Cruise #, date, , ship Cabin Cat, solo occ. business class air and airport. Plus that I had a 50% OFF brochure price coupon from the cruise line
She came back with "I have BOOKED you a cabin" and told me the price for COACH air fare from a different airport . I explained her errors, she said she would "call the cruise line and get back to me"
15 mins later she called back and infomed me that "They will not let you use the 50% off coupon for that cruise but we have a group booking for it "(different cat and higher price )
I refused to be conned, checked with the cruise line who confirmed that I COULD use the coupon for any cruise other than World cruise or Holiday cruises. and that they did have vacant cabins in the cat I required.
I called the owner of the agency to let her know what had happened, she denied it could have happened, put me on hold and then came back to say "My staff do not lie, the cruise is "sold out" in the cat. you wanted , we have tried to help you but you are being completely unreasonable".
I phoned another agent who in less than 10 mins, had booked me into the cat I wanted at 50% off the very high brochure price which made it a really good deal for me.
Not just bait and switch , down right unethical.